Here at Accomable, we know you love browsing our listings to find the accessible holiday destination that’s right for you. We also know that when it comes to choosing the perfect accessible property, the devil really is in the detail - so we’re bringing you more of it.
Meet The Vendors is a series of interviews designed to take you behind closed (fully accessible) doors and give a more in-depth look at some of the properties we feature. Today we're taking you behind the scenes at Heath View in Suffolk (UK).
In the words of Cilla (Blind Date reference in case you're confused), what's your name and where do you come from?
Hello, we are Jasper & Lynne and we own Heath View Holidays in Suffolk.
Is there an interesting history to Heath View?
We originally bought Heath View when we were building a wheelchair accessible bungalow for our family. Our eldest daughter, Holly, has cerebral palsy and is a full time powered wheelchair user. We lived in Heath View for a year, then Jasper’s parents lived there for 5 years. After that, having put in a wet room and knowing how easy we found the layout of the bungalow, we decided to see if we could offer it as a holiday home. From our own experience, we knew not all rentals are as described. Often we would arrive to find steps or a raised shower when the owners had declared that the property accessible. So we set about fixing that for Heath View.
How have you adapted it to enable people with disabilities to stay?
Over the last 3 years we have responded to everything our guests have suggested in order to get Heath View to be the best it can be. This has been little things, such as having a bread bin, or moving the kettle so it can be reached by someone in a manual wheelchair, to widening three doorways to allow access to a range of wheelchair sizes. We have put blackout blinds in the conservatory and security lights at the back to cover the path to the 4th bedroom. We have also updated the décor to give the 1960’s house a more modern feel.
We have a lot of families stay and Jasper is very handy in the garden. He has built a bespoke play deck which includes a lower level that can be accessed by less mobile children. There are loads of fun things to do at ground level. The garden generally is completely flat and there are paths all the way around including enough parking for 3-4 cars right outside the double width entrance.
Inclusive play area at Heath View
As we live next door, we got public liability insurance so that guests can use Holly’s therapy pool. It is 6ft x 2.5ft and 4ft deep throughout. We keep it at around 32 degrees so it’s lovely and relaxing. There are roman steps in one corner for easy access and we have an overhead hoist for anyone who needs it.
Indoor heated pool with pool hoist available to use
Wow, it's great that you have been able to practically respond to people's feedback. Why did you think it was important to have adaptations?
We wanted to make sure anyone could come and have a holiday at Heath View. Some of our early guests had managed, but for us that wasn’t good enough. We want our guests to be able to relax and not worry about how they would get about or having to rely on help that they wouldn’t normally have. People describe Heath View as a home-from-home. Although we have specialised equipment available, such as a profile bed and mobile hoist, the house does not have a clinical feel at all. It means everyone can enjoy a holiday in an inclusive way.
Have you ever had anyone famous stay?
Not that we are aware of, but our last guests were over from America to play in the New Years’ day Parade through London, which was pretty cool.
What is your favourite thing to do in the local area?
In the house there is a file with lists of things to do, places to go or eat. We have included our personal experiences and opinions of access and a section on the best access/customer service in the area.
The Suffolk Heritage Coast is only a 10-minute drive from Heath View. There are beautiful beaches and walks in Felixstowe, which has a two-mile accessible promenade. Further up the coast is Woodbridge, Aldeburgh and Southwold which are all quaint Suffolk towns worth a visit. We advise guests on the best places to park for best access as we do it all the time with Holly.
Suffolk Heritage Coast - photo by Lynne
It's great to know that you've got such great personal knowledge of the accessibility of locations, we know that this gives people a lot more confidence when travelling. Are there any exciting activities in the area that are adapted for people with disabilities?
Deben Cruises is a company that does, as it says, leisure cruises on the River Deben and they can accommodate wheelchair users (we have never done this, but I have enquired for someone else). There is sailing at Levington with the East Anglian Sea School, about 10 minutes from here and the company regularly take disabled sailors. They have a boat hoist and trained assistance. We would advise guests to contact them well in advance.
Have you got any tips for travellers coming to stay with you?
Always get in touch before you come so we can help. We have equipment for hire; profile bed, mobile hoist with slings, various shower chairs and a mobility scooter that can be folded into the boot of a car, so just ask if you need something. We also have an array of baby and toddler equipment, books and toys. The idea is to allow people to travel light. Our guests invariably comment on how well equipped Heath View is.
Mobile, wider doors and flush threshold, and roll-in wet room at Heath View
And finally, what sort of a traveller are you?
To be honest we don’t get away that often. The best holiday we had as a family was to Cyprus. The whole place was set up for powered wheelchair users and even the airport transfers were brilliant. I would love to do something like that again. We used to go to Cornwall every summer, but running Heath View tends to keep us grounded.
Holly still goes on an activity holiday every year and does wall climbing, kart racing and general partying! We have three other children so we spend most of the time running them around!
Lynne and the family enjoying some down time
Wow, it certainly sounds like you're busy with 3 children and Heath View to run, thanks for taking the time out to talk to us. And what a great place to stay! Find out more about Heath View and make an enquiry here. And you can also find out how Accomable team member Suzanne got on during her stay, and view a video tour here, we know she was a big fan of the tennis court and hot tub!